flag Mali Mali: Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

Mali has an open economy in which trade equals around 69% of the country’s GDP (World Bank, latest available data). Customs duties are relatively low, and there are very few legal or regulatory trade barriers. The country is a member of WTO, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), whose objective is to reduce trade barriers through the creation of a common market. One of Mali’s primary objectives was to reach self-sufficiency regarding cereal production and to become the leading grain supplier for countries in West Africa. However, although it has achieved satisfactory results, Mali is yet to become a net exporter of cereals. Cotton production, on the other hand, has been on the rise over the last agricultural seasons, allowing Mali to become the largest supplier of cotton in Africa. The adoption of economic sanctions by ECOWAS and UEMOA in early 2022, including a trade and financial embargo and border closures, negatively impacted trade.

According to data by ITC, in 2022, Mali’s exports comprised almost exclusively precious stones (78.1%, down by 9% year-on-year – mainly gold), followed by cotton (11.3%), and live animals (2.5%); whereas imports were led by mineral fuels and oils (39.2% of total imports), nuclear reactors (6.6%), electrical machinery and equipment (5.5%), cereals (4.8%), and pharmaceutical products (4.1%).

In the same year, the bulk of Mali’s exports went to the UAE (77.7% of total exports), followed by Switzerland (14.4%), Australia (3.5%), China (1.4%), and Turkey (0.6%). Senegal (which accounts for 23.8% of Mali’s total imports) was the biggest supplier, followed by Ivory Coast (18.9%), China (12.4%), India (5.5%), and France (4.9% - ITC, latest data available).

Mali’s trade balance is structurally in deficit and is largely dependent on commodity prices. According to figures by the WTO, in 2022, the country’s exports of merchandise increased to USD 5 billion (from USD 4.7 billion in 2021), while imports of merchandise were stable at USD 6.1 billion. Mali is also a net service importer: the value of commercial services imports stood at USD 2.2 billion against USD 371 million in exports. Estimates by the World Bank show that, in 2022, the country’s trade balance was negative by 10.7% of its GDP (from 11.5% one year earlier).

Foreign Trade Indicators 20192020202120222023
Imports of Goods (million USD) 5,1345,1076,2966,4568,364
Exports of Goods (million USD) 3,6754,7944,8585,0465,321
Imports of Services (million USD) 2,2462,0492,4332,205n/a
Exports of Services (million USD) 767402523371n/a
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 6-3144n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 20-14n/a
Trade Balance (million USD) -638504-305n/an/a
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 64676769n/a
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 38363940n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 26312829n/a

Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank - Latest available data.

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Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
South Africa 36.5%
Switzerland 35.6%
Bangladesh 7.1%
Ivory Coast 4.2%
Burkina Faso 2.8%
See More Countries 13.8%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
Senegal 22.5%
China 15.8%
Ivory Coast 10.6%
France 7.9%
India 3.1%
See More Countries 40.1%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

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Main Products

3.6 bn USD of products exported in 2019
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought...Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 72.9%
Cotton, carded or combedCotton, carded or combed 11.6%
Live bovine animalsLive bovine animals 4.1%
Live sheep and goatsLive sheep and goats 1.6%
Mineral or chemical fertilisers containing two or...Mineral or chemical fertilisers containing two or three of the fertilising elements nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium; other fertilisers (excl. pure animal or vegetable fertilisers or mineral or chemical nitrogenous, phosphatic or potassic fertilisers); animal, vegetable, mineral or chemical fertilisers in tablets or similar forms or in packages of a gross weight of <= 10 kg 1.2%
See More Products 8.6%
5.1 bn USD of products imported in 2019
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 27.0%
Cement, incl. cement clinkers, whether or not...Cement, incl. cement clinkers, whether or not coloured 4.0%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses "incl. those in the form of transdermal administration" or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 3.8%
Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular...Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular networks or for other wireless networks; other apparatus for the transmission or reception of voice, images or other data, incl. apparatus for communication in a wired or wireless network [such as a local or wide area network]; parts thereof (excl. than transmission or reception apparatus of heading 8443, 8525, 8527 or 8528) 2.1%
Wheat and meslinWheat and meslin 1.9%
See More Products 61.2%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data


To go further, check out our service Import controls and Export controls

To go further, check out our service Import-Export Flows


Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data

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List of tariffs and local taxes that apply to your product on our service Customs Duties


Trade Compliance

International Conventions
Member of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
International Economic Cooperation
Member of West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU)

Member of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)

Useful Resources
Customs service (in French)
National Organisation of Intellectual Property
Find on this page the contact of the Malian Center for Industrial Property (CEMAPI)

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Latest Update: May 2024

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